Irish turmoil for MCM Comic Con

A couple of days ago, the folks behind MCM Ireland Comic Con announced their days for their 2015 event. I was initially very surprised to learn that they had moved their event to the end of August, this moving them into the somewhat over-saturated summer/early autumn convention season. After sharing the news on Facebook, I asked the director for Nom-con next year as to whether this was an impact on them, as Nom has in previous years jumped back and forth between the start and the end of August. When I heard back that it wasn’t any impact on Nom, I thought nothing more of the news and left it there.

However, over the past day or so, I’ve noticed that members of the Irish comic community have been rising up complaining first about the move of MCM to be directly in between the two main homegrown Irish comic events – Dublin Comic Con in early August, and the Dublin International Comic Expo (D.I.C.E.) at the end of September – and secondly about MCM’s moderation on their Facebook page following multiple complaints and comments from both Irish comic creators as well as comic con attendees. It seems to have hit a head as the news has been shared by Irish Comic News, and their reaction isn’t the most flattering. Continue reading

Sticky OP, Volvo nerf plox

So Valve, I think that most players would probably agree that the Demoman’s Sticky Launcher is just a bit overpowered. Even though it’s been in the game since the beginning, the weapon needs a bit of a rework, as right now it’s just a bit too easy to “winbomb” with it.

Sticky = OP

Owing to the weapon’s flexibility in usage, it makes it a jack of all trades; but unfortunately, with the damage output that it offers, it’s also a master of all trades, which is terribly unbalanced. A recent thread in SPUF suggested nerfing the base damage down to 85, but I believe that that is a bit too much. Here, I line out my suggestions for a way to nerf the weapon without completely crippling it, and still allowing it to perform it’s primary role of area denial with ease. Continue reading

Bought a new phone

Over the past couple of months, I’ve been mulling over what to do when it comes to upgrading my phone from the terribly crappy HTC Explorer that was... *ahem* purchased for me last year. Initially I had was looking into upgrading to a Galaxy Note 3 at the end of my initial contract, albeit at a pretty hefty price – made slightly worse by the fact I’m currently on a FlexiFix contract; however, after some further research I settled on buying a Nexus 5 direct from Google Play.

New Nexus 5, compared to the old HTC Explorer

Price was a big thing in the comparison. To get a Note 3 from Three would have cost up to €559, with the best option for me would have been getting it for €189 on a 24-month Flex Max 350 plan at €40 a month. However, one of the nuances of Three’s upgrading system meant that my upgrade path was locked into a FlexiFix variant, and I would essentially have to cancel and re-signup at the end of the contract to move to a different plan type.

Instead I bought a 32GB Nexus 5 straight off of Google Play for €399, and a tenner for delivery – compared to Three, who offer the 16GB version for free on 24-month contracts or up to €349 on lesser contracts. Speaking of delivery, I can’t say enough about how quick it was. I placed my order at 2pm yesterday afternoon, it was dispatched at 5pm, and delivered to my door by DHL at half 9 this morning. If only I could get Amazon to deliver that quick...

I haven’t been able to use it much as of yet – spent most of the day today heading to the 3 store in the Blanch Centre to pick up a micro-SIM for the Nexus, and the Explorer used a full-size SIM. But from what I have been able to use of it at home, it’s brilliant. I can’t get enough of the speed and space, which is a massive far cry to what I had on the HTC. Picture quality is also very good, so I can see myself actually using it to take some decent pictures while out and about. Still getting used to the massive increase in screen size, my thumbs need a little bit of retraining to get used to the bigger keyboard and the different button layout compared to the HTC’s Gingerbread. I’ll also be able to test out the call quality soon once the new SIM is activated, as well as trying the 4G coverage – will have to see if it lives up to the hype, and decide whether it would be worth paying for when the trial period expires.

My main debate now is what to do once I finish out my initial 12-month contract in August: do I stick with a billpay on the €20 monthly rolling contract, or bump down to prepay? Rolling contract gives 350 flex units for calls and texts (of which I tend to do very little) and unlimited data; whereas prepay gives 30 days of unlimited everything with a €20 top-up.

However, my main concern with prepay is the cost of everything outside of the freebie bundle, especially data charges. One thing that my Explorer did was switch off WiFi when it went idle and got all the push notifications over mobile data. At least if I had a bill, there’d be no need to manually check if I still had my top-up bundle, check for credit, or end up in a situation where I have no credit and no money to buy more.
Still need to think about that a bit.

YouTube Copyrightpocalypse

The recent massive changes on YouTube, whereby all MCN partners are no longer protected from Content ID matches, and their entire video library is being retroactively scanned for matches, has hit people hard. I myself have had at least 40 claims on my videos solely for the in-game audio and soundtracks.

It’s clear that Fair Use nor the application of the audio is being factored in by companies such as Rumblefish, The Orchard Music, INGrooves, IDOL, INDMusic, Tunecor,e and others; as they claim and monetize away on an automated whim without any second thoughts as to who might be affected. Continue reading

A couple of days ago brought the news that MCM, the group behind the Comic Cons and expos in the UK, were going to expand over here in Ireland, in the RDS next April. While I’m not completely adverse to them holding an expo over here, I do have to wonder what effect their presence will have on the Irish convention community.

It’s biggest effect will probably be on Anime Dublin, since AD was created to attempt to fill the void that was in the Irish con scene around April time. I’ve already heard from a few people that they would skip AD to go to MCM, even if they were a couple of weeks apart.

There may also be a slight effect on the other events in the months surrounding. Gas Con in DIT might escape the influence, being at the start of March; but the newly created Kaizoku Con in UCC at the end of March might take a hit, if people decide to skip going there to save up for a trip to Dublin. Aka-con I believe is far enough away (end of May) to not be affected.

Comparisons to the recent Dublin Comic Con will be inevitable. It remains to be seen just how different the two events will be, although MCM do have experience on their side. There are rumours that they decided to enter this year after seeing the huge attendance figures at DCC...

I do hope that the folks organising the MCM Comic Con Ireland will liaise with the rest of the Irish conventions to ensure that there’s no toe-stepping. The last thing we want is to see large groups/corporations muscle their way into a country and kill off it’s own thriving scene, just to see the monetary profit.

UPDATE (12th Sep) – MCM have just tweeted that they will also be holding a Comic Con in Belfast on the 7th-8th of June next year. This rapid expansion into Ireland, while it could be considered good for the convention scene as a whole, it seriously putting pressure on the native convention scene as run by independent people/groups.

The Belfast weekend takes place the weekend immediately after Aka-con, which depending on the intentions of it’s attendees, could put even more pressure on an event which already had rather mediocre reports from it’s first year; it’s also only a couple weeks before Q-Con, where you will likely find the most grumblings, particularly if the presence of MCM negatively affects the attendance of Q-Con, which itself saw a rather large spike this year. Yes, Q-Con does have it’s roots as a gaming convention, but the increasing presence of anime and comics, as has been seen over the past few years, could potentially be in jeopardy.

I really hope the MCM group know what the hell they’re doing...

In order to improve service, we were working to change how our pages were cached. We worked with our partner web CDN to make these changes. Unfortunately, during the update process our caching ruleset was not obeyed by our CDN partner, and some pages that should not have been cached were cached after this update. If you were logged in during this time, there was a very slim possibility that your user-specific information, such as stream key and password hash, were exposed in these improperly cached pages.

- The Official Twitch Blog

So, finally got everything working after an hour of constantly changing and resetting my password... The biggest thing I still don’t get about all this – how the fuck would this caching issue potentially reveal a password hash? If a hash if viewable on demand to the user, that’s an even bigger security flaw than a caching error!

The Xbox One DRM “Update”

simpsons-protest

So, thanks to the vocal majority, the quiet minority of us gamers who had no problems with the new DRM system the Xbox One was going to bring in that was similar to Steam’s system – probably because most of us are already major PC games who are used to Steam – are going to be shafted and unable to utilise what would have made Xbox One’s market system a step above Steam, as Microsoft have gone and backtracked on those changes. This in my view, is a very bad thing, as summed up by Kyle Wagner on Gizmodo.

However, when I bring this up in places, everyone else – who likely have always been a console gamer and weren’t used to systems like Steam – begin the comment saying things like “Well, why didn’t you say anything about how you liked it instead of sitting there sitting on your hands?”.

Doing such a thing would never work. Do you really expect me and the others who are content with the new features to go out to Redmond, and set up in front of the Microsoft offices with picket signs saying “THINGS ARE FINE” and “ONE HAPPY CAMPER”? (See featured image from The Simpsons, I believe it’s from Mr. Lisa Goes to Washington)

XKCD also had a similar images posted as a comic before.

Moral of the story? Complaints are always heard louder than compliments. And in this case, the complaints have fucked up what was going to hopefully be an innovation in the digital distribution market.